Betty Buckley relishes starring in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ which comes to Southern California for 4 weeks

Not just anyone can step into the role of fast-talking, charismatic agent of ardor, Dolly Gallagher Levi from Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker.” It became a classic musical in 1964 when “Hello, Dolly!”, starring the late Carol Channing, premiered on Broadway. Pearl Bailey took over the role, and in 1969 Barbra Streisand immortalized it on the big screen. And then there’s Bette Midler, a natural fit for brassy Dolly, who owned the part in the 2017 Broadway revival, winning one of the show’s four Tony Awards. Suffice to say it’s a tough act to follow.

Just don’t tell that to Betty Buckley, the “voice of Broadway” who brings “Hello, Dolly!” to Segerstrom Center for the Arts from Jan. 22 to Jan. 27 and the Hollywood Pantages from Jan. 29 to Feb. 17. Best known to audience members of a certain age as Abby Abbott on T.V.’s “Eight is Enough,” Buckley is a 1983 Tony winner for playing Griselda in “Cats” — her rendition of “Memory” is the classic show’s signature song.

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